Brainstorm | Rockstar Triple Crown | Abbotsford 250 Class
By Billy Rainford (B-Rain. See what we did there?)
Photos by John Meaney
Well, after all the hype and anticipation, the 2018 Rockstar Triple Crown series finally got started Saturday night in Abbotsford, BC. As most of you know, it rains a lot in the Lower Mainland. In fact, there’s a good chance it rains in Abbotsford more than anywhere else in North America – it’s wet.
Sure, you say, but this is an indoor event. Guess what? The Abbotsford Centre isn’t a 12-month Motocross facility, they play hockey and have concerts in there. That means they have to bring the dirt inside the building for this one-off event and it has to be stored somewhere.
I’m not making excuses for whoever it is that owns and stores this dirt. No, they dropped the proverbial ball, big-time on this one. Not many have ever seen conditions like we witnessed for opening night of this brand new series.
I haven’t missed a round of Canadian Moto in quite a few years and this didn’t sit well with me. However, after getting photos from John Meaney, I can say that if I were to miss one, this was the one to miss. It was not an easy night for photographers, let alone riders.
In the end, the racing had to be pretty entertaining for the many fans who ventured out in the horrible BC conditions and filled the seats at the arena. They weren’t expecting to see what waited for them, but it had to be worth the price of admission, none the less.
There was live streaming of the event which went pretty well for their first go at it. Sure, there were a few hiccups along the way but Kyle Thompson and Brett Lee made the broadcast very easy and enjoyable to listen to and watch. They’ll get if figured out who’s supposed to be the play-by-play guy and who’s the colour commentator for Calgary, right guys? *wink
Of course, the night made it difficult for riders and mechanics to simply get their bikes from the gate drop to the checkered flag, but, as the saying goes, it was the same for everyone. Some made it and some didn’t.
There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s get some structure to this column and give it a little ‘Brainstorm‘ treatment.
NB: The results have been removed from the official series site so the order here is bound to be incorrect. We’ll wait to see the corrected results before we tackle what happened in the 450 class.
1. #910 Carson Brown HON
OK, Carson had to be your favourite heading into round 1. He won the Future West Moto Canadian Arenacross Championship this year and is arguably the most fun rider to watch since James Stewart. Seriously, go follow him on Instagram.
Once we got our first look at the conditions of the dirt, I think the only rider smiling may have been Carson. This guy puts in countless laps around his yard in conditions not all that much different from what we saw Saturday in Abbotsford. It was a mess and he loved it.
We actually gave him a call on his way home to Washington and he basically confirmed what we thought…he loved it! He’s got to be considered one of the guys to beat for this championship. The question is, will we see him at any more rounds?
2. #3 Shawn Maffenbeier KAW
Shawn is the defending MX2 champion in Canada and so it’s expected that he will be in this for the title. He’s definitely most concerned about defending his #1 plate in the Motocross discipline, but when that gate drops, it’s really hard to tell yourself to take it easy.
Shawn looked like the guy to beat and will be right there in the hunt for all 3 disciplines, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he took all of them. He’s not afraid of mud (remember he was still doing the uphill triple in the mud at the MXON this year!), so I wasn’t surprised he finished up on the box in those horrible conditions.
3. #27 Tanner Ward KTM
Woodstock, ON rider Tanner Ward is in top racing form right now after competing in the Amsoil Arenacross series this winter. He actually sits 5th in those points, so you know he’s ready to go!
He said he wasn’t exactly thrilled to see the mud when he hit the track, but knows it’s the same for everyone. He slammed into Ryan Lockhart in the whoops early and ended up way at the back of the pack, so keeping his cool and getting on the podium was a pretty solid effort, he just doesn’t like to lose.
Tanner was also in Abbotsford on his own without a mechanic so he really tried to go easy on his bike to make it through. He’ll have Mike King with him the rest of the way, so he’ll be ready to go in Calgary next month.
4. #101 Ryan Lockhart KAW
Wow, that’s a solid finish for Ryan. On a muddy night when anything can happen, even a Vet rider can almost hit the box! Just teasing, Ryan. He’s got as much racing experience as almost the rest of the field put together, so he knows how to score points when he needs them.
The thing is, he’d be pretty close to this position in perfect conditions, too. He’s till going very fast on a dirt bike. We’ll have to wait and see if he shows up in Calgary next month to close out the western swing of this Arenacross portion, but if he does, he’ll be a top 5 guy again.
5. #66 Marco Cannella YAM
Marco got the call to action just a couple weeks ago after his teammate Jess Pettis got hurt in Supercross. Marco’s plan was to race some of the big US Amateur Nationals and get ready to hit the Pro circuit hard next year. Well, things can often change quickly in this sport, and Marco found himself on the line in BC.
He showed early on in his heat race that he was ready to go bar to bar with the top riders. He is a pretty smooth rider and used that ti his advantage in the deep mud. He’s also pretty tall so he had to try and keep his long legs out of the way in those conditions, which can be an added challenge.
He’s faster than his 5th place finish shows. He was actually out in 2nd place early in the main behind Brown but had some troubles and sat stopped on the track for quite some time. 5th is good, considering.
6. #35 Jonah Brittons HON
The BC rider had struggles of his own and ended up in 6th at the flag. He trains hard with Ryan Hughes in California and is a young rider moving his way up. He will continue to improve but I don’t know if we can expect him to finish any higher than this…yet.
7. #157 Wyatt Waddell HSK
Wyatt is fresh off ACL surgery and probably didn’t enjoy trying to hold that leg up and out of trouble all day and night in the mud. He was way back of the leaders and had to spend a lot of his time looking over his shoulder to get out of the one line the leaders were in. He’s working his way into Pro race shape and will continue to get better.
8. #82 Kyle Springman
Kyle was set to race for a team but that didn’t work out and so he was in Abbotsford on his own and having some fun in the mud. Like almost everyone else, he was forced to try and stay out of the way when the leaders came around. On a short track, and in those conditions, the top guys were into the lapped traffic by lap 3!
Kyle said he actually managed to stay up on 2 wheels all day and night but that this was his final round, as he won’t be going east with the series.
9. #477 Joey Parkes YAM
I didn’t see an awful lot of Joey out there on the track. You’d see his yellow plates flash by from time to time, but that was all I can say, except that it was big of him to show up and race in those conditions against those guys. Hopefully, we see more of him as the series moves forward.
10. #12 Dylan Wright HON
I know someone who is not at all happy with how the night ended. Dylan came into the night with the fastest qualifying time and was looking to walk away with the points lead. Unfortunately, mechanical gremlins from the conditions got the better of his good looking bike and he was forced to watch as the field went by in a brown blur of mud.
This is a long series, so all is not lost, just misplaced. He’ll find it under a couch cushion or something and be back up near the front in Calgary.